The Minister of Health Semano Sekatle said that clinics and hospitals in the country are ready for the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine countrywide.
Speaking to the media on the sidelines of the vaccination campaign launch at the Scott hospital in Morija, Sekatle indicated that health professionals as well as village health workers are at the very fore of persons to be vaccinated.
“Hospitals and Clinics are ready for the vaccine rollout because the vaccine has been transported to different health centers in the country mostly in district hospitals. Very soon the hospitals will join the Scott hospital in the vaccination program and they will start with the health professionals as well village as health workers,” she said.
Sekatle said the next batch of vaccine is expected to arrive anytime this month March from the African Union.
“We do not know exactly when it will be delivered. From the African Union we have ordered doses that can be used to vaccinate 40% of the Basotho Population,” he said.
“The AstraZeneca vaccine that we are launching today is expected to expire after three months but most of the vaccines expire after six months but with this one we have three months. It is also worth mentioning that the country is well equipped with the storage for the AstraZeneca vaccine. And also we are going to get very little of the Ffizer vaccine because we do not have the storage with the level of temperatures it requires but yes we are going to buy it. We do not have the storage that can keep the vaccines at -17 degrees. We are advised that it can stay up to 30 days packaged without tempering with the packaging in the ordinary fridges that we have which are -2 and -8 degrees. But when the packaging has been tempered with, then it has to be used within five days otherwise it will expire,” he said.
“We are told that a herd immunity is difficult to determine. The minimum you can have is 65%. So if we do have the 20% and the 40% as expected will reach a minimum herd immunity. But because the vaccines are new there is no definite level of herd immunity that we can talk about,” he said.
In launching the vaccination campaign, a number of elites led by His Majesty King Letsie III received their first doses of the Astrazeneca vaccine on the first day of the campaign.
Other officials who also received shots at the launch event include Her Majesty the Queen, Her Royal Highness Princess Senate, the Prime Minister Dr Moeketsi Majoro and the First Lady, the Minister of Health and Principal Chief of Matsieng His Royal Highness Prince Seeiso among others.
The pandemic was recorded in Lesotho in the winter of 2020. To date, some 10 528 have tested positive, 309 of whom have succumbed to complications related to the virus, with 3 922 recovered.